Billboard Bits: Gaye/Aaliyah, R. Kelly, & More
News on Gaye/Aaliyah, R. Kelly, & MoreNona Gaye has been added to the cast of the sequels "The Matrix: Reloaded" and "The Matrix: Revolutions" in a role that was to be filled by the late singer/actress Aaliyah. Gaye is in production on the project in Australia with directors Larry and Andy Wachowski. Aaliyah, who was killed in an August 2001 plane crash, had signed to play a character named Zee.
Gaye was most recently seen opposite Will Smith in "Ali," playing Belinda, one of the boxing champ's wives. The actress, daughter of the late R&B/soul legend Marvin Gaye, is also a singer whose 1992 debut album, "Love for the Future," was issued by Atlantic.
-- Zorianna Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
Embattled R&B artist R. Kelly will release the single "Soldier's Heart" on April 23 to benefit the Army Emergency Relief (AER) organization, which provides financial support to soldiers, and their widows and families. Along with Kelly, Zomba Recording Corporation, Zomba Music Publishing, and BMG Distribution have pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds from the single to benefit AER, as well as hospitalized veterans in the artist's hometown of Chicago.
The song echoes the current sentiment of the country and the commitment to those serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, and throughout the world, according to Kelly's label, Jive Recordings (a division of Zomba). The track will be serviced to U.S. radio outlets for airplay consideration a week prior to its retail release.
As previously reported, R. Kelly (real name: Robert Kelly) is facing scrutiny over allegations that he appears in a sexually explicit videotape with a minor that police say is being sold illegally across the country and on the Internet.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
Carole King and daughter Louise Goffin will perform May 10 at a benefit for the National Resources Defense Council (NDRC) at Los Angeles' Wadsworth Theatre. The pair will team for "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," while King will also perform another song at the event, which will raise money for the organization's environmental programs.
The "evening of comedy, music, short films, and powerful speeches" will feature a keynote speech by former President Bill Clinton. The event will boast actor Tom Hanks as master of ceremonies, as well as a performance by Debbie Allen's Dance Academy. Also slated to take part are Martin Short, Larry David, Cameron Diaz, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Martin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Rob Reiner.
Singer/songwriter James Taylor will perform at an NRDC fundraiser tonight (April 11) at New York's Chelsea Piers. That event will honor filmmaker Trudie Styler (wife of Sting), real estate developer Daniel R. Tishman, and cartoonist Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury").
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
New York-based blues/pop jam band Spin Doctors, which resurrected its long-dormant original lineup of vocalist Chris Barron, bassist Mark White, drummer Aaron Comess, and guitarist Eric Schenkman for a one-off show last September, have set an eight-date U.S. tour kicking off April 22 in Chicago.
The foursome responsible for the group's first three albums and early-'90s hits like "Two Princes," "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong," and "You Let Your Heart Go Too Fast" played a show together for the first time in seven years Sept. 7, 2001, at New York's 500-capacity Wetlands Preserve. The gig was part of a series of special shows commemorating the closing of the 13-year-old venue, where the Spin Doctors recorded their debut live EP, 1991's "Up For Grabs" (Epic).
According to a spokesperson, the three-hour-plus performance rekindled the quartet's interest in working together, seven years since Schenkman's departure. The group hopes the upcoming tour will lead to more concerts and/or the recording of a new album, but is "taking baby steps" through this rejuvenation process.
While in New York for an April 29 date at Irving Plaza, the Doctors will play live on WPLJ's "Scott and Todd" morning show at 8:30 a.m.
Here are the Spin Doctors' tour dates:
April 22: Chicago (House of Blues)
April 23: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Blind Pig)
April 25: Clifton Park, N.Y. (Northern Lights)
April 26: Cambridge, Mass. (MIT/Johnson Athletic Center)
April 27: Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (The Chance)
April 29: New York (Irving Plaza)
April 30: New Haven, Conn. (Toad's Place)
May 1: Philadelphia (Theater of the Living Arts)
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.